Despite the fact that the majority of action films would cease to exist without them, the campaign to introduce an Oscar honoring the best stuntmen and stuntwomen of the year has been constantly rejected since 1991. Jason Statham became the latest star to speak up for those ‘risking their necks’ in the name of entertainment last month, describing the repeated snubs as ‘a total injustice.’ Here are five death-defying stunts which suggest the Transporter lead has a point.
The Spy Who Loved Me
Easily the most awe-inspiring opening to a Bond movie, stuntman Rick Sylvester almost didn’t survive his breath-taking ski-jump off Canada’s Asgard Peak when one of his detached skis very nearly ripped his Union Jack-themed parachute.
Jackie Chan is unlikely to ever trouble the Oscars for his acting skills but he certainly deserves a statue for his stunt work. None more so than on 1985’s Police Story where he jumps from the top floor of a shopping mall, slides down several storeys of light bulbs and smashes into a glass ceiling.
CGI would no doubt be used to create Ben-Hur‘s legendary chariot race these days, but back in 1959 it was an actual human being, Joe Canutt, who was given the responsibility of pulling off the film’s most death-defying stunt. An unexpected bounce which threw him into the air as his chariot leaped over the wreckage of another only makes it even more spectacular.
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Stuntman Terry Leonard had previously had his legs run over while attempting a similar series of dangerous stunts during The Legend of the Lone Ranger the same year. But thankfully, he managed to get knocked over the hood of a truck, crawl underneath the speeding vehicle and drag himself to safety without suffering a serious injury in Indiana Jones’ first outing.
Lead actor and trained martial artist Tony Jaa could have taken up this entire list with the jaw-dropping feats he performed in 2003’s Ong-Bak. But the bike fight scene in which he leaps from a raging inferno, spins through the air and delivers a knock-out kick with his legs aflame is perhaps the most impressive.